As the Philadelphia 76ers met up with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, NBA-level defense was not something that was on display. Neither team actually shot a high percentage, but the teams were both looking to just run at a ridiculous place and focus more on expending their energy on offense on the way to the Sixers’ 114-102 victory.
However, in the midst of all of this fast-paced play, Philadelphia rookie Michael Carter-Williams was still able to put forth a bit of a defensive effort as he grabbed two steals to go along with 16 points, six assists and nine rebounds on the night. MCW has been impressive, but inconsistent this season. However, his thievery has remained constant.
Overall for the season, Carter-Williams has an put up an impressive line of 17.8 points, 7.5 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 36 minutes per game, though his efficiency has slipped from impressive numbers in the early going of this season. However, what’s been crazy has been his production in terms of steals, nabbing 3.1 per game.
Though he’s only played 19 games this season due to a variety of injuries, Carter-Williams already has 61 steals on the year. That’s important to note because he’s currently on-pace to break the NBA record for steals in a season by a rookie set by Dudley Bradley in the 1979-80 season. Bradley finished the year with 211 steals that season, averaging 2.6 per game.
If Carter-Williams were to play every game and continue averaging 3.1 steals per game over the Sixers’ remaining 51 games, he would finish with 219 total steals and obviously an average of 3.1. Essentially, Carter-Williams is notching thefts at a rookie-record rate.
It was pretty clear from the start of his rookie season that MCW is a much better pro than most people expected him to be. However, the fact that he’s been able to sustain much of his success and stay so productive on the defensive end of the floor so early in his career is yet another positive sign. Philadelphia might not be a good team at the moment, but Carter-Williams is certainly the start of a solid foundation for the future.